If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is...

>> Tuesday, July 20, 2010

HONEST AND RELIABLE REPRESENTATIVES NEEDED.‏
From: Spencer Anthony (anthony.spencer@makshat-ventures.com)
Sent: Sun 7/18/10 6:59 AM
To:


DEAR SIR / MADAM,

PART TIME JOB OFFER FOR YOU.

My name is Spencer Anthony,i know this is certainly an unconventional way to
start up a business relationship but i want you to know that it is done
out of a desperate desire to have a business representative in your
country to get my business moving again.

I Urgently need sincere representatives that will work from home and get
paid weekly without leaving or affecting your present job. My Company is
based in London, UK and we produce various clothing materials, batiks,
assorted fabrics and traditional costumes.We have customers we supply
weekly in Europe, North America, Australia and countries in the Middle
East.My customers make payments for our supplies every week or monthly, i
therefore need honest and sincere individuals to work as my
representatives and assist me in processing/collecting of the payments
from our Customers.

AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU ARE EXPECTED TO TAKE CARE OFF IS TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS
FROM MY PATRONIZING CUSTOMERS ON MY BEHALF, THEN DEDUCT 10% PER PAYMENT
RECEIVED AS WORKMANSHIP AND FORWARD THE BALANCE TO ME VIA MEANS I DEEM
FIT.PLEASE NOTE: THE MONEY TRANSFER CHARGES FOR EACH TRANSACTION WOULD BE
DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL AMOUNT YOU WILL BE SENDING TO ME TO AVOID SPENDING
FROM YOUR 10%.


I look forward to your favourable response and accepting to be our
representative.I need the following information from you plus a scanned
passport photograph of yourself for identification.

FULL NAMES:
HOME ADDRESS:
SEX:
OCCUPATION:
YOUR DIRECT MOBILE NUMBER:
YOUR HOME PHONE NUMBER:


Please these information are needed for easy payment from our customers
and for our own records as well.

Thanks

Yours Truly

Spencer Anthony,
Ceo, Makshat Ventures Pvt.

pls reply to: anthony.spencer1@i12.com


I'm afraid this one isn't going to be a funny one. Regular readers know that sometimes I'll take a piece of junkmail and write a funny response. This isn't for the regular readers though, this is a post for people using Google.

For those of you who aren't regulars, let me tell you what I do for a living. I am an assistant public defender, meaning that I'm a lawyer who represents people who are accused of a crime who can't afford to hire a lawyer of their own. American law, you see, says that anybody accused of a crime has to be given a lawyer as part of making sure they get a fair trial.

So I represent people who are charged with a crime who don't have a lot of money.

So I've ended up representing a lot of people who got an e-mail like the one at the top of the post, and because they don't have a lot of money and the economy is bad and they can't find a job, they send an e-mail back. What they don't figure out is that it's a scam.

Here's how the scam works, usually. This person, "Spencer Anthony" (if that's his real name) isn't a London businessman. He or she, whoever it is, is probably in a café in Nigeria. For some reason, there are a lot of cafés in Nigeria with free wireless where someone can set up a laptop and send out lots of e-mails like this one. If "Spencer Anthony" isn't in Nigeria, then there are a lot of crooks running this scam out of Russia and out of Canada (don't ask me why Canada). But it doesn't really matter where the scammer is.

If you're lucky, then you answer the scammer's e-mail and give him or her your address and phone number and a copy of your passport or photo ID, and the scammer sells it to somebody who sells fake identification, and your name ends up being stuck on a fake ID.

But what usually happens is the scammer gets back in touch with you. He will send you a check and instructions on how to cash it. The scammer will tell you to keep 10% and send him the rest.

The check will be no good. It will be a forgery, or altered.

Now, the scammer is hoping one of two things will happen. First of all, a lot of people--we'll call them "suckers"--who get a bad check in the mail will say, "It doesn't really matter where I cash it, the money's the same," so they go into a check-cashing place or their local convenience store, or some place where the people who work there know them. The sucker gives the bad check to the cashier, the cashier gives the sucker money, the sucker keeps 10% and sends the rest to the scammer, then the check bounces. Or, the scammer hopes the sucker will follow the instructions and the place the check is taken to--Wal-Mart, a bank, wherever--doesn't look at it too closely.

Either way, the scammer spends a few pennies on ink, paper and postage, and the sucker mails back a nice wad of money out of it.

But what happens at the check-cashing place? They take the check to the bank, and the bank says, "This is a fake, we won't honor it." Or what if the check-cashing place realizes it's a fake as soon as they see it? Then the local police are called.

The local police don't go to Nigeria.

The local police don't go to Russia.

The local police don't go to Canada.

The local police go to the person who was passing the check.

The police arrest the sucker. The sucker gets charged with fraud. In a lot of places, it will be a felony fraud charge.

Let's say you're the sucker. The police department won't care that you were a sucker. They aren't going to fly around the world to try to find someone who might not even really be named "Spencer Anthony." They have somebody they've charged.

Your public defender (or private lawyer, if you have the money to hire one), will care. But your lawyer will be worried that if you have to go to trial, twelve people in a jury might not think you were a sucker at all. Especially if you decided to go to your local convenience store instead of following the exact directions the scammer gave you (the prosecutor might say to a jury, "If the defendant (that's you) believed this was a real deal, why didn't he-or-she follow the instructions?"). Your lawyer will be afraid for you.

Your lawyer will talk to the district attorney, or solicitor, or whatever they call the prosecutor in your state. We'll call him the "DA" because that's what they call him in my state. There will probably be several lawyers working in the DA's office on different kinds of cases, trying to punish people for crimes like fraud. Some DAs will be very compassionate and will say, "Okay, this person was a sucker, I'll throw the case out but he or she better be more careful next time." Some DAs will say, "Alright, all the people who cashed the check care about is the money, so if the sucker pays them back we'll let it go."

And some DAs won't give a damn. Some DAs will say, "The sucker was caught passing a forged check, and the law's the law."

Then your lawyer is going to be really worried for you. Should you take the case to trial? What if a jury thinks you're lying about how you got the check? What if the jury thinks you knew it was fake but tried passing it anyway? What if a perfectly nice person--and you're a nice person, I'm sure of it--gets a felony on their record because they did something dumb because they were broke and an e-mail promised a good deal?

Because you could get a felony conviction out of something like this. People do. Some get lucky. A lot don't.

So how do I know this e-mail from "Spencer Anthony" is a fake?

For one thing, it is exactly like lots of fake e-mails I've seen offering the same thing. I've been representing poor people accused of crimes for more than ten years and I've seen a lot of these.

For another thing, if it was real, then "Spencer Anthony" would be an idiot. He would be offering to send you a check without knowing if you'd really send him all of his money back. Why would he do that unless the check was no good and he was trying to take advantage of you?

Also, real businessmen don't work this way. Real businessmen go to banks to cash their checks. Real businessmen get small business loans and have investors and so on. Real businessmen have a staff that does job interviews and meet with people looking for jobs and don't hire people by sending out random e-mails. You might think, "Well I have a family member who has a small business and does everything himself," but look at what "Spencer Anthony" says: "Spencer Anthony" claims he has business contacts in Europe, America, Australia and the Middle East. That's three, possibly four continents (the Middle East includes part of North Africa and part of Asia). Why isn't he calling his employees directly instead of sending you an e-mail out of the blue, if he's so big? Anyway, your family member wouldn't run his business that way, either, I'll bet you--go ask him yourself.

Now, maybe you're thinking, "but I have a friend who's doing this and nobody has arrested them yet!"

That's because they haven't been caught. And that's really the worst luck of all. My lucky clients are the ones who get caught the first time they try this, because they only get charged for that time. I wish they weren't charged at all. I wish they didn't try to cash fake checks. But being charged once is better than being charged for all the other times. The police, when they start looking into something like this, start calling around to see if other places are complaining about somebody cashing lousy checks, or look to see if there are other charges that are already filed but the person hasn't been arrested yet for whatever reason.

So I'm asking you, I'm begging you: if you get an e-mail like the one from "Spencer Anthony," it's a scam. "Spencer Anthony" is trying to make you a sucker. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn't true. Remember that. Pass it along. Thank you.



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